100-things-meme (geologist edition)
MJC Rocks over at Geotripper decided to turn the more generic 100-things-meme that was going around into a geologist’s 100-things-meme. What a great idea! Several others have joined in — I wonder if the collective geoblogosphere has seen all 100?
The things I’ve seen are in bold — and commentary is in (paranthetical italics).
1. See an erupting volcano (I’m a loser for living in California and not going to Hawaii yet)
2. See a glacier (Glacier Grey and Perito Moreno in Patagonia; Canadian Rockies as well)
3. See an active geyser such as those in Yellowstone, New Zealand or Iceland (I’ve also never been to Yellowstone!)
4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary. Possible locations include Gubbio, Italy, Stevns Klint, Denmark, the Red Deer River Valley near Drumheller, Alberta. (I guess I haven’t seen it where it’s nicely preserved, but have seen plenty of successions that straddle the boundary)
5. Observe (from a safe distance) a river whose discharge is above bankful stage (not really a ‘river’, but a small creek in New York State)
6. Explore a limestone cave. Try Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park, or the caves of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. (Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico)
7. Tour an open pit mine, such as those in Butte, Montana, Bingham Canyon, Utah, Summitville, Colorado, Globe or Morenci, Arizona, or Chuquicamata, Chile. (I’ve seen one, but not toured one)
8. Explore a subsurface mine.
9. See an ophiolite, such as the ophiolite complex in Oman or the Troodos complex on the Island Cyprus. (I guess I haven’t seen a ‘true’ ophiolite, but have seen lots of pillow lavas in CA Coast Ranges)
10. An anorthosite complex, such as those in Labrador, the Adirondacks, and Niger. (I went on a canoe trip to the Adirondacks when I was in high school, before I was a geologist, I guess it doesn’t count)
11. A slot canyon. Many of these amazing canyons are less than 3 feet wide and over 100 feet deep. They reside on the Colorado Plateau. (in Utah)
12. Varves, whether you see the type section in Sweden or examples elsewhere (Castile Formation, west Texas)
13. An exfoliation dome, such as those in the Sierra Nevada
14. A layered igneous intrusion, such as the Stillwater complex in Montana or the Skaergaard Complex in Eastern Greenland.
15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate. (if this is referring to convergent/active and passive margins, then yes, North America)
16. A gingko tree, which is the lone survivor of an ancient group of softwoods that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic. (here in California)
17. Living and fossilized stromatolites (Yes! Living microbialites in a lake in Patagonia, and found some real small ancient ones in Utah)
18. A field of glacial erratics (upstate New York, and some in Patgonia)
19. A caldera (somewhere in New Mexico during field camp — I don’t remember the name!)
20. A sand dune more than 200 feet high (Great Sand Dunes Nat’l Monument, Colorado)
21. A fjord (Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina)
22. A recently formed fault scarp (Basin and Range, Nevada)
23. A megabreccia (Devonian Alamo Breccia in southern Nevada)
24. An actively accreting river delta (Peyto Lake, Canada; the Mississippi from a helicopter, and various others)
25. A natural bridge (Utah)
26. A large sinkhole
27. A glacial outwash plain (Patagonia and Canadian Rockies)
28. A sea stack
29. A house-sized glacial erratic
30. An underground lake or river
31. The continental divide (Rocky Mountains, Colorado and Chile-Argentina border)
32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals
33. Petrified trees (not whole trees, just pieces)
34. Lava tubes
35. The Grand Canyon. All the way down. And back. (dang, only from rim)
36. Meteor Crater, Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, to see an impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible (I spotted it from a plane once, does that count?)
37. The Great Barrier Reef, northeastern Australia, to see the largest coral reef in the world.
38. The Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, to see the highest tides in the world (up to 16m)
39. The Waterpocket Fold, Utah, to see well exposed folds on a massive scale. (oh yeah, love it!)
40. The Banded Iron Formation, Michigan, to better appreciate the air you breathe.
41. The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
42. Lake Baikal, Siberia, to see the deepest lake in the world (1,620 m) with 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water.
43. Ayers Rock (known now by the Aboriginal name of Uluru), Australia. This inselberg of nearly vertical Precambrian strata is about 2.5 kilometers long and more than 350 meters high
44. Devil’s Tower, northeastern Wyoming, to see a classic example of columnar jointing
45. The Alps. (in southeastern France)
46. Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park. From this spectacular summit you can look down onto the floor of Death Valley – 11,330 feet below. (only looked up at it from the floor of Death Valley)
47. The Li River, China, to see the fantastic tower karst that appears in much Chinese art
48. The Dalmation Coast of Croatia, to see the original Karst.
49. The Gorge of Bhagirathi, one of the sacred headwaters of the Ganges, in the Indian Himalayas, where the river flows from an ice tunnel beneath the Gangatori Glacier into a deep gorge.
50. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, Utah, an impressive series of entrenched meanders.
51. Shiprock, New Mexico, to see a large volcanic neck
52. Land’s End, Cornwall, Great Britain, for fractured granites that have feldspar crystals bigger than your fist.
53. Tierra del Fuego, Chile and Argentina, to see the Straights of Magellan and the southernmost tip of South America.
54. Mount St. Helens, Washington, to see the results of recent explosive volcanism. (only from a plane)
55. The Giant’s Causeway and the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland, to see polygonally fractured basaltic flows.
56. The Great Rift Valley in Africa.
57. The Matterhorn, along the Swiss/Italian border, to see the classic “horn”.
58. The Carolina Bays, along the Carolinian and Georgian coastal plain
59. The Mima Mounds near Olympia, Washington
60. Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland, where James Hutton (the “father” of modern geology) observed the classic unconformity. (I wish … someday)
61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
62. Yosemite Valley
63. Landscape Arch (or Delicate Arch) in Utah
64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia (no, but I was near it)
65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington
66. Bryce Canyon
67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone
68. Monument Valley
69. The San Andreas fault (I just drove over it yesterday!)
70. The dinosaur footprints in La Rioja, Spain
71. The volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands
72. The Pyrennees Mountains (hopefully sometime in 2009)
73. The Lime Caves at Karamea on the West Coast of New Zealand
74. Denali (an orogeny in progress)
75. A catastrophic mass wasting event (I’ve seen plenty of examples of ancient mass wasting deposits, but not an actual event)
76. The giant crossbeds visible at Zion National Park
77. The black sand beaches in Hawaii.
78. Barton Springs in Texas
79. Hells Canyon in Idaho
80. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado
81. The Tunguska Impact site in Siberia
82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0. (nope, 4.5 is the largest I’ve felt)
83. Find dinosaur footprints in situ (well, I wasn’t the first to “find” them, but spotted some in Colorado)
84. Find a trilobite (or a dinosaur bone or any other fossil)
85. Find gold, however small the flake
86. Find a meteorite fragment
87. Experience a volcanic ashfall
88. Experience a sandstorm (west Texas)
89. See a tsunami
90. Witness a total solar eclipse
91. Witness a tornado firsthand. (in Wyoming from a very safe distance — same day as Devil’s Tower actually)
92. Witness a meteor storm, a term used to describe a particularly intense (1000+ per minute) meteor shower
93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope.
94. See the Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights.
95. View a great naked-eye comet, an opportunity which occurs only a few times per century. (Hale-Bopp in 1997)
96. See a lunar eclipse
97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope
98. Experience a hurricane
99. See noctilucent clouds
100. See the green flash (I’m still not sure if I believe that)
37 out of 100 … not horrible … but, not great either.